Pechuck lookout hike
From Portland Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Rooster Rock Road Trailhead
- End point: Pechuck Lookout
- Trail Log:
- Hike Type: In and out
- Distance: 5.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 1580 feet
- High Point: 4,338 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: Summer into Fall
- Family Friendly: Yes, for older children
- Backpackable: Yes
- Crowded: No
This hike leads steeply up to the long southern ridge of the Table Rock Wilderness and then runs southeast along the ridge to drop to a saddle, whence hikers take the short, steep path up to the unusual Pechuck Lookout. This two-story cupola-style lookout, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and volunteers from the Friends of Pechuck, is on the National Historic Lookout Register. The site was first established as a lookout in 1918, with the current structure being erected in 1932. It is open for overnight stays; reservations are not required.
When facing the trailhead signboard the Rooster Rock Trail starts up the hill behind you. (The trail is NOT the old decomissioned road to the left of the signboard.) The trail ascends into Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and vine maple woods. Switchback up through an understory of rhododendrons which bloom in late June/ early July. Reach an old jeep road bed and then leave it, still heading up. There are about ten switchbacks, some of them short Z-switchbacks. Make a traverse, switchback, and recross the old jeep trail. Wind up and switchback again. Finally, reach the High Ridge-Rooster Rock Trail Junction on the ridge crest. If you were to turn left, Rooster Rock is one mile down the trail. Turn right for the Pechuck Lookout.
Walk along at the level on the ridge among blooming rhododendrons and old snags. There’s a clearcut below on the south slope, but to the left is the pristine western slope of the Camp Creek drainage. Silver fir, Douglas-fir, western hemlock and noble fir form the forest. The trail undulates along the ridge. Then head down, passing the entry sign to the Table Rock Wilderness. Keep descending in secondary growth silver fir forest. Reach a road and the Pechuck Lookout Trailhead. After crossing the road, which is not open to public vehicles, head up, then down, and then rise again making seven switchbacks and passing a rock face above a borrow pit with a clear view of the Camp Creek Valley and Table Rock. Join the lookout road and pass the outhouse. There’s a trail junction near the top. Going left leads down through the woods to a spring. Reach the cupola-style Pechuck Lookout at 4,338’. Views extend south to Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters and north to Mount Hood and the Washington Cascades.
Note: In winter and spring, it is possible to hike to the lookout, and stay overnight, from the Old Bridge Trailhead, which is 2,000 feet lower than the Rooster Rock Road Trailhead. You will need to be prepared for snow (Snowshoes are your best bet) and this hike will be over six miles one-way.
Fees, Regulations, etc.
- Search Trip Reports for Pechuck lookout hike
- Pechuck Lookout Via Rooster Rock TH
- Table Rock / Pechuck LO Loop 21-May-2014
- Day Trip 5/18/14
- Table Rock/Rooster Rock/Pechuck Lookout 7/4-5/11
Related Discussions / Q&A
- Search Trail Q&A for Pechuck lookout hike
Guidebooks that cover this hike
One Night Wilderness: Portland by Douglas Lorain
- Pechuck Fire Lookout Site (BLM)
- Pechuck Lookout (Cool Trails)
- BLM's Table Rock Wilderness (BLM - on YouTube)
- Table Rock Wilderness (Wilderness.net)
- bobcat (creator)